With an exclusive Champions League Milan Derby tonight, let's look back at why exactly AC Milan and Inter Milan share the epic stadium in the first place.
Since the early 20th century, the San Siro Stadium, commonly known as Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, has been an iconic landmark in football. The legendary ground is not just home to one but two of Italy's most distinguished football clubs: AC Milan and Inter Milan.
While it may seem unusual for two teams, especially rivals, to share the same home ground, the history and circumstances surrounding this unique arrangement are both interesting and practical.
Why do the two Serie A giants share the same grounds?
Established in 1899, AC Milan became the San Siro's first occupant when they constructed the stadium in 1926. AC Milan's president, Piero Pirelli, spearheaded the construction. Named after the surrounding district, the San Siro started as a single-tier stadium with a seating capacity of approximately 35,000 spectators.
Inter Milan, formed in 1908, initially played their home matches at the smaller Arena Civic. However, practicality (accessibility and finances) led to sharing the San Siro with their city rivals.
In 1947, Inter Milan officially moved into the San Siro, turning it into a shared home ground. To this day, the two teams never have home games at the 75,00 capacity stadium on the same day to avoid fixtures clashing.
A new shared stadium is in the works
In recent years, both clubs have expressed their intention to build a new shared stadium — dubbed “The Cathedral” — citing the increasing difficulties of modernizing the San Siro to meet contemporary standards.
The Cathedral, set to unveil its doors in 2027, will feature 60,000 seats and incorporate state-of-the-art green technology. It will also provide a pedestrian-only leisure district, all set within 110,000 square meters of lush green space. Building for the new $1.2 billion stadium expects to start in 2024.
The San Siro will stay up despite the new stadium's construction until the 2026 Winter Olympics.
What other teams share stadiums?
Sharing a stadium is not exclusive to AC Milan and Inter Milan. Several other football teams worldwide also share their home ground, including Serie A giants Lazio and Roma.
The two clubs play their home games at the 72,698-capacity Stadio Olimpico.
Genoa C.F.C. and U.C. Sampdoria also share a 36,600 Stadio Luigi Ferraris stadium. The venue sits near the Bisagno River, with the backdrop of the scenic hills of the Apennine Mountains.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Prelvini